From 'American Vandal' to 'Five Points,' Nathaniel Potvin proves he can do it all
Nathaniel's portrayal of Ryan on Netflix's 'Alexa and Katie' brings about quite a bit of laughs and it is easy to fall in love with his charming personality on screen.
A star on the rise, Nathaniel Potvin, has been a part of many projects this year, making his presence felt, and his talent noticed. From the wannabe Gonzo in season 2 of 'American Vandal' to the geeky Wallace in Facebook Watch's 'Five Points' and the charmingly shy Ryan on Netflix's 'Alexa and Katie,' Nathaniel has recently been able to truly explore his versatility as an actor.
In each of these roles, that are parts of an equally talented ensemble cast he manages to stand out and shine. The talented young star speaks to Meaww regarding his career, goals and what more to expect of him.
Here are the edited excerpts from the interview with Meaww:
Gonzo is a very interesting character. How did you approach this character?
I approached this character as someone that is constantly trying to fit in; he’s the kid who thinks that if he covers for the cooler kids they will accept him. I kind of saw Gonzo as a kid who’s in need of approval but covers it with this facade of being cool. I also had to take into account that this character plays basketball. Sadly, I’m not the best "baller," or not as good as I would like to be, so I had to brush up on my basketball skills by playing as much as possible on set when we weren’t shooting.
'American Vandal' is a very novel concept. What was your response upon reading the script and your role? Were you a fan of the show when you auditioned?
When the show first came out with its first season I instantly fell in love with it. I saw the show for how unique it was and admired how the writers turned the serious tone of a true crime documentary into a show about phallic shapes. When I got the audition I was just excited to even go in front of the casting directors and to show them my work. When I booked the role and started reading the script, I fell more in love with the show. The stakes get higher in this season, but I really think that raises the standard for the jokes.
What can you tell us about Wallace and 'Five Points'? It would be easy to stereotype him as a geek, but he clearly is a three-dimensional character who is so much more than this one trope. What did you do to ensure that he is a well-rounded person rather than a caricature?
'Five Points' is a show that takes place in a high-school in Chicago surrounding a single event that five students all have a part in. It’s shot from five points of view and my character Wallace is one of those POVs. Wallace is a kid who doesn’t have many friends; he wants to be well known and versed because he feels that his contributions to the school go unnoticed as the “smart kid”.
Wallace is a little bit of a geek, but he does have a depth to him. He can be very sly and cunning, and he can also leverage his intelligence to help others in need - just not in the best way. He also has a defiance to him that he utilizes when he snaps and decides to get back at his bully. Developing this character so that he was seen as an actual person instead of the stigma version of a nerd all came from me as an actor and a person relating to my character Wallace.
Instead of feeling bad for my character I related to him because there have been times where I have also been the victim of bullying and people placing a stigma on me. Instead of feeling bad for myself I broke that stigma, and I worked hard to prove that I am more than what people thought of me.
As an executive producer how involved is Kerry Washington in the making of the show? What was it like working with her? Were you able to show off your acting chops?
Kerry Washington was very involved in the making of 'Five Points.' She would come to set to watch and just talk to the cast. She would be in the editing room with our director and producers figuring out which takes were best, and which performances really painted the show how it was meant to be depicted. She was very involved in the process of promoting our show so that people would turn their heads to watch these stories. She was amazing to work with.
Kerry is honestly one of the nicest people I have ever been in a room with. She has taught the cast and me so much on how to be actors and actresses in this industry, but more importantly, how to hold ourselves as people in life. She consistently said she loved all of our performances, and how proud she was to be a part of the show, so I feel like I had something to do with that.
What can you tell us about season 2? Do we have a date yet? If and when season 2 comes about, what are your hopes for Wallace? Any story arcs you dream for him?
As far as I know we don’t have a season 2… yet. No dates either, but fingers are definitely crossed. If there is a season 2, I really hope that the story can explore Wallace’s home life in depth and the reasoning behind his defiance. One story arc I would like him to keep having is with Lexi and CJ. I don’t want to make it weird or too dramatic like a soap opera, but I think there is a love triangle going on.
I loved you on 'Alexa and Katie.' What was working on the show like? Was shooting for it as fun as it seems? What is your chemistry with the girls like behind the scenes?
I love working on 'Alexa and Katie!' It is just a really thoughtful environment, and it’s very family oriented. It’s super fun to shoot this series because everyone is friends on set, so there is never a dull moment. Working with Paris and Isabel is wonderful. Both are really talented, and they both have great ideas on how to lead a show.
Do you think Ryan and Katie will be together for the long haul? If you were a writer on the show, how would you pan their relationship out?
I think that Ryan and Katie will be together off and on for the run of the show. I think what makes people interested in a show is seeing if what they want to happen actually will happen. If I were a writer on the show I would make them date, break up, then have them flirt with each other - however flirty my character Ryan can be because he can be really awkward. That way it keeps the audience engaged and wanting them to date, or not to date, or to get over each other. Probably ending on a high note.
Since Netflix has renewed the show for season 2, can you tell us if you will be returning for the same and if so will be more of a fixture this time around?
I can’t really say. It is truly up to the writers and what the creators have in store for their project. I will say I would be glad to join that cast again, but some other things I am excited about are just things that my writing partner and I have been toying with and starting to make.
What are some of the things you can’t wait to check off of your career bucket list? Actors/ directors you want to work with? Genres or projects you want to explore?
I can’t wait to check my first major feature film off my bucket list. I am excited to go to film festivals like TIFF, Sundance, and even Cannes. I would love to work with so many amazing directors such as Barry Jenkins, Ryan Coogler, the Safdie brothers, and Hiro Mura. I would also love to work with the people over at Marvel, and A24 and I would really like to explore a project in the drama/ thriller or superhero genres.